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Paul Joseph Buterbaugh

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Paul Joseph Buterbaugh was born on June 15, 1933, and raised primarily by his aunt. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, across the street from a major factory. The stress of family poverty left him with a keen sense of society’s problems and an even sharper sense for social justice. After high school he enrolled in the Marines and was on a ship headed to Korea when the war ended. He later attended Ohio State University and had a career working in the human resources division of Ohio’s public health services until he semi-retired.

While living in the German Village section of Columbus, his neighborhood bar was the original Max & Erma’s. His first project during the years after retirement was to start and run a bookstore in downtown Columbus. When that project was not successful, he decided to move to Yellow Springs. He first arrived in the village on his bicycle in the late 1980s. Paul made numerous friends during his stint working at the Emporium for several years after moving to town.

Paul was a self-taught artist who often expressed his strong political views with very clear messages in posters and drawings, including one announcing “Be A Good Citizen — Censor Yourself!” He served on the YS Village Council in the mid-1990s to promote his goals for fairness in the village.

In his later retirement, Paul created a business to support himself with skillful collecting and reselling of Post-Modern design furniture and items that he found in area thrift stores, then transported to urban areas, such as New York. He also collected American art and coin silver. It was always a big adventure to go thrift store shopping with Paul, who had developed a very keen eye and could quickly spot items of value and separate them from the jumble of knick- knacks. A big part of his skill was his own appreciation of good design and his love of beauty.

The last several years of his life, Paul was no longer able to collect or restore his antiques. He lived quietly with his beloved cats and treasured art works on the property of Dave and Keiko Hergesheimer, who, along with Robb Willoughby, cared for him in his final years. He passed away peacefully on Nov. 19, 2022, at the Northwood Nursing Home in Springfield, Ohio.


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